The Karmi Village in Kyrenia, North Cyprus.
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The Kármi (Karaman)

photo by: Unit Inak
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Just outside Kármi village is a collection of Middle Bronze Age chamber tombs, which illustrate the trade links between Cyprus and the rest of the Mediterranean at this time. In one tomb, a man was buried along with blue beads from Egypt and ‘Kamares’ ware bowls produced by the Minoan civilization on Crete. He may have been a sailor who was working on the trade routes between North Cyprus and Syria, and brought back the items as souvenirs from his travels.

The Karmi Effigy, North Cyprus

By far the most important discovery at Kármi is the oldest human figure relief discovered in Cyprus. Thought to represent the goddess of fertility, the heavily-weathered figure was discovered carved into the corridor of Tomb 6. The Kármi Necropolis tombs themselves date from between 1900 and 1800BC, which makes them older than the Royal Tombs at Salamis.

The restoration of Kármi village, North Cyprus

The village of Kármi or Karaman in Northern Cyprus has an interesting history itself. Badly damaged in the fighting of 1974, the former Greek village was abandoned and fell into disrepair. In 1983, the whole village was taken over by the TRNC Ministry of Tourism, who restored the roads and basic infrastructure. The Ministry in turn leased the houses to foreigners, and only foreigners, on 25 year lease periods. The condition was that the foreign residents should restore their houses with their own money, using only local architects and builders. The village has a curiously British feel to it, despite an international population, with street names like Geranium Lane, and the Crow’s Nest pub in the middle of the village.

The Museum at Kármi, North Cyprus

The former Greek Orthadox village church at Kármi is now a North Cyprus museum, and open on Sunday mornings. It’s worth dropping in to view the icon screen, unapologetically assembled by the locals from abandoned churches in the area. It’s also interesting to see how loving care and restoration has brought Kármi back from rack and ruin. Whether it is authentic North Cyprus is another matter…